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Irish Recipes, Old & New

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HOT CROSS BUNS

4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided

2 packages dry yeast

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

2/3 cup currants

1 egg white, slightly beaten

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash of salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour with the yeast and cinnamon. Set aside.

Heat the milk, vegetable oil, sugar and salt in a saucepan until warm, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and beat for 3 minutes at high speed with an electric mixer. Add all at once to the flour mixture along with the eggs.

Beat at low speed for 1 minute, scraping sides of the bowl constantly. Increase mixer speed to high and beat 3 more minutes. Stir in currants and as much of the remaining flour as possible.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat surface. Cover and place in a warm spot. Let rise until double, about 1-1/2 hours.

Punch dough down and turn out onto lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 18 pieces and form each into a smooth ball. Place on a greased baking sheet 1-1/2 inches apart. Cover, and let rise until nearly double (30 to 45 minutes).

With a sharp knife, cut a cross in each bun, and brush tops with some of the slightly beaten egg white. Reserve remaining egg white.

Bake at 375F degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly.

Meanwhile, combine the powdered sugar, vanilla, dash of salt and reserved egg white. Add a little milk if necessary to give it a piping consistency. Pipe crosses on top of buns.

Tip: The crosses are easy to pipe if you seal the icing in a plastic sandwich bag, snip off a small corner and squeeze.

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SCOTCH BROTH

Despite its name, this is really more like a hearty beef stew.

1-1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into pieces and trimmed of fat

8 cups water

3 tablespoons pearl barley

3 turnips, sliced

3 carrots, sliced

1 large potato, peeled and cubed

2 leeks, trimmed and sliced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cups finely chopped cabbage

Salt and papper

Pinch of dried thyme or lemon thyme

Chopped fresh parsley

Put the meat into a large soup pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim off any fat, and add the barley. Cover and let simmer for 1 hour.

Add the turnips, carrots, potato, leeks and onion and simmer an additional hour.

Add the cabbage and season to taste with salt, pepper and thyme. Simmer an additional 15 minutes.

Serve with chopped parsley sprinkled on top of each serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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This is from Celtic Folklore Cooking by Joanne Asala.

Caraway is said to render a witch invisible when mixed with a number of other secret ingredients. When baked into cakes, breads and cookies, it is an aphrodisiac, so be careful who you serve this to.

SEEDY CAKE

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground almonds

1 teaspoon caraway seeds, plus more for sprinkling

2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons Kirsch

Confectioners' sugar

Cream butter and sugar together, beat in eggs one at a time, adding a little flour each time to prevent curdling. Fold in the rest of the flour, ground almonds, and caraway seeds. Stir in the milk and Kirsch. Bake in a round 8-inch pan lined with waxed paper and greased for 1-1/2 hours at 350F degrees. Leave to cool in pan for several minutes before turning out on rack. Dredge the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar and sprinkle on additional caraway seeds. This cake keeps well in an airtight container.

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Here's one right out of Grandma's Cookbook on Texas Cooking. This is a great side dish.

GREEN RICE

* 2 cups uncooked white rice

* 2/3 cup finely chopped green pepper

* 3/4 cup finely chopped green onion (white and green parts)

* 1/2 cup chopped parsley

* 1/4 cup olive oil

* 1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1/4 teaspoon white pepper

* 4 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Butter a 2-quart casserole or 9x13-inch dish.

Combine all ingredients in baking dish. Cover (with lid or aluminum foil) and bake for 45 minutes, or until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed. Before serving, toss lightly. Makes 7 to 8 servings.

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PAN-FRIED STEAK WITH IRISH WHISKEY

* 1 8- to 12-ounce sirloin steak at room temperature

* Freshly ground black pepper to taste

* 1 tablespoon butter

* 1 teaspoon olive oil

* 1/4 cup Irish Whiskey

* 1 cup heavy cream

Season steak with pepper. Add the butter and oil to a hot skillet. When butter foams, add the steak and sear quickly on both sides. Reduce heat and cook to taste (3 to 4 minutes for rare, 4 to 5 minutes for medium, 5 to 6 minutes for well done), turning steak only once. Remove steak to a warm plate and keep warm.

Pour off fat from pan. Add the whiskey and cream to the pan, and stir until reduced and thickened. Season to taste and pour over steak.

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CARAWAY SCONES WITH LEMON BUTTER

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold butter cut into pieces

1 to 2 teaspoons caraway seeds

3/4 cup slightly flat beer

1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flower, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, fork or two knives (whatever works best for you) until mixture is consistency of coarse crumbs. Stir in the caraway seeds. Add the beer and stir until a sticky dough forms.

Knead the dough a few times until it is smooth. Pat dough into an 8-inch round.

Cut dough into 8 wedges. Carefully transfer wedges to the baking sheet with a spatula, placing them at least 2 inches apart. Brush tops lightly with beaten egg.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. Cool on pan 5 minutes, then remove and cool on rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm with Lemon Butter.

LEMON BUTTER

Combine 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter, 2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley, 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning (optional).

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